Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Shay Rieger
(1923 - 2015)

"Pig" - bronze, 11" x 18" x 9"
It is with sadness that Modern Art Foundry shares the news of the passing of Shay Rieger. Shay first came to Modern Art Foundry in 1959, and from then until last year we continued to work with her to cast, exhibit, and sell her wonderful, inspiring, caring, and thoughtful works of art.

During the last decade, every few months, I would make early morning visits to her home/studio on Horatio Street to review any work we were doing for her. This will always be a memorable experience for me. Shay was a customer that worked with all three generations of our foundry. Her publications almost always included images of her and our craftsman engaged in bringing her work to life.  - Jeffrey Spring
Shay was born in New York City and is the author and illustrator of several books and films which included the award-winning film, The Bronze Zoo. As a sculptor, she has worked in numerous materials such as wood, stone, plaster, clay, terra cotta, and bronze. Her animal and bird sculptures have been displayed in community centers, public parks, corporate buildings, and private homes. Her most recent sculpture installation was June of 2004, at the Children’s Hospital of New York Presbyterian in New York City.

In 2010, AES Gallery featured the paintings of Shay's titled, "Noah's Ark, The Renewal." The exhibition featured the unique paintings in oil and stitchery based on a book for publication. For that exhibit, she captured the escape, two by two, from the Great Flood. The show was presented by Modern Art Foundry and RT Restorations. 
A Selection from "Noah's Ark, The Renewal," Series.
Many have long enjoyed Shay's creations. She studied at the Arts Students League in Manhattan, and exhibited in New York museums such as The Brooklyn Museum; The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Shay also offered public installations in New York Public Libraries, Lever House Building, Warner Communications Building, and Rockefeller Plaza.

Modern Art Foundry 
Astoria, New York  

- Text and Image Credits on File

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Two cans of Ballantine Ale cast in bronze .....

When interviewing Bob Spring about his visit to the exhibition "Casting Modernity: Bronze in the XXth Century," he mused, "It's enjoyable to be reminded of the work we've done" and with that thought he recalled the Jasper Johns work "Flashlight," at the exhibition. 
                                                                                                                (Vintage photo @ MAF/Beer cans & Light bulbs)
Bob specifically remembered Johns work titled "Painted Bronze," which features two cans of Ballantine Ale cast in bronze. There is a publicized story about this work evolving out of a comment made by Willem de Kooning (also featured in Casting Modernity and a past customer of Modern Art Foundry) to Johns's gallerist Leo Castelli. Bob continued to speak about the deceiving weight of the cans; how that the one your mind believes to be heavy is light, and the opposite for the other can, it is heavy.

Modern Art Foundry's archives show this casting completed in April 1964. The interaction with Johns was brief; and Bob was working full-time in the foundry while his father was running the day-to-day operations. We did a few other works for Johns including the Light Bulb castings.

David Smith was also part of this exhibition; another artist that hired us to produce just a few works. 

At times, a foundry has brief encounters with painters, fabricators, photographers, or other artists exploring and applying different techniques and various skills to their work. Bob told me that, "Our services do not always meet the needs of these artists, but it provides a chance to explore and create, and we are willing to help them. Casting a bronze or two helps in that process." David Smith, referenced in our archives under Terminal Iron Works, explored MAF's services in 1962.

Isamu Noguchi's bronze casting, "Cronos," was represented in this exhibition too. Noguchi found his way to Modern Art Foundry in the 1960's. We developed a very good working relationship with him, lasting almost three decades. Both John and Bob Spring were responsible for the casting of his work. "The reason our relationship flourished with Noguchi was because of his expertise and confidence in his work and him knowing exactly what he wanted - this fit right in with the traditional services we provided, making it easier for us to satisfy him."

The opening pages of the exhibition's catalogue refer to this show being both a celebration and discovery. It reminded Bob of the works and artists' he has worked with, and further exposed third-generation owner Jeffrey to MAF's extensive history. Whether brief, or for an artists lifetime, these interactions make MAF a major contributor to the history of fine art casting in the United States.
--- Prepared by Patricia Bradshaw as part of the on-going documentation of Bob Spring's decades of working with artists casting their work at Modern Art Foundry. For more information contact info@modernartfoundry.com
- Photo Credit on File
Modern Art Foundry
Serving Artists and Communities Since 1932.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Modern Art Foundry Casts
World War 1 Monument 
Saratoga Park, Brooklyn, NY
SARATOGA PARK MONUMENT (life-size figure and two honor rolls), bronze, 2014

In 1920, James S. J. Novelli, an Italian-American sculptor and prolific monument maker was commissioned to model a World War I monument for Saratoga Park in Brooklyn, NY. The Saratoga Monument consists of a granite plinth and two cast bronze honor rolls listing 106 local soldiers who died during the war that flank a life-size allegorical figure, also cast bronze. It is believed that in 1970, the two honor rolls went missing and in 2000 the figure was stolen. From that time until just a few weeks ago, the granite slab stood bare in Saratoga Park.

The Re-dedication Ceremony at Saratoga Park 
September 10, 2014

As part of a city parks restoration contract, working with Fina Gonzalez of WBE Unlimited Corporation, Modern Art Foundry hired professional  sculptor Anatoly S. Mikhailov to model a replica sculpture from photographs and the remaining bronze fragments of the original work. Anatoly has worked for us before, most recently modeling a life-size figure of George M. Steinbrenner III located in the main lobby of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NY, and a life-size Abraham Lincoln for a private collector. In addition to modeling and casting the Saratoga figure, the two honor rolls were also recast. 

"It is almost always incredibly interesting and exciting to be part of restoring historically significant work. Using reference documents and images, you feel a sense of time travel as you set out to repeat what was once completed and presented to the public. The process from start to finish is very engaging."  ~ Jeffrey Spring

Modern Art Foundry
Astoria, New York

Anatoly S. Mikhailov website: www.amcreativeart.com
Photo Credits: Maria Mikhailov

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Threading Through Decades

Max Ernst

"On a recent visit to Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, I happened upon Max Ernst's marker and was reminded of the thread some artists have made through the three generations of Modern Art Foundry. It has been in these relationships that our commitment and contribution to those who make art has been made." ~Jeffrey Spring

Max Ernst was a painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and poet. He is often considered one of the pioneers of the Dada and Surrealism movements. His work "The King Playing with the Queen," was one of the featured works at the Mnuchin Gallery’s New York exhibition titled, Casting Modernity: Bronze in The XXth Century, that was cast at the foundry.

"The King Playing with the Queen," bronze, 37 7/8" x 33" x 21 1/8"

Modern Art Foundry has an extensive casting history with Max Ernst, lifetime and posthumously. He worked with John and Bob Spring, and his family has worked with Bob and Jeffrey Spring. “Our records indicate that Mr. Ernst first brought work to us in 1953. I returned from the Air Force in 1955 and I remember Mr. Ernst and his gallery at that time. I have always enjoyed Max Ernst’s sculptures.” ~Bob Spring

My conversations with Bob Spring are part of an on-going documentation of his many decades of dedication to working with artists and casting their work. To date we have reviewed his experiences with an amazing group of diverse and influential artists including Peter Agostini, Doris Caesar, Willem de Kooning, Jose de Creeft, Temima Gezari, Frank Hayden, Mary Hecht, Malvina Hoffman, Anna Hyatt Huntington, Gaston Lachaise, Jacques Lipchitz, George Lober, Paul Manship, Henry Moore, Marino Marini, Joan Miro, Ernst Neizvestny, Isamu Noguchi, John Rhoden, Luis Sanguino, George Segal, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Clemente Spampinato, William Zorach and the list keeps growing. Often these talks lead us to specific topics such as finishing techniques, patinas, installations, thoughts on commissioned commemorative design work, and the maintenance and conservation of bronze sculpture.

                                             Modern Art Foundry: Fine Art Casting Since 1932
Prepared by Patricia Bradshaw as part of:
        Reflections on fifty plus years in the fine art casting business.
An on-going collection process that includes interviews, writings, and recordings for publication in print, digital, and sound mediums.


~~ Photo Credits on File

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bob Spring Visits the Mnuchin Gallery Exhibition
"Casting Modernity: Bronze in the XXth Century"

Introduction to a Series of Discussions with Bob Spring

Prepared by Patricia Bradshaw 

A few days before its closing in June 2014, Bob and Jeffrey Spring made their way to East 78th Street in NYC to visit the exhibition titled, Casting Modernity: Bronze in the XXth Century at the Mnuchin Gallery. After reviewing promotional materials and recognizing a number of castings made at Modern Art Foundry, Jeffrey wanted his father Bob to see this show.  

- - - "In a very simple way, the exhibition unknowingly shared our history too," Jeffrey remarked.

Upon their return, I met with Mr. Spring a couple times to discuss his thoughts on the exhibition. He said he was quite taken seeing all these works, and felt a clear emotional connection. Many of these artist’s he worked with directly, providing services to assist them in their artistic pursuits. He added, "It was a nice tribute to the foundry, although most people, on first glance would not know we were involved. Even the artist’s we didn't cast for, their works sometimes made their way to our foundry when collectors need our conservation and maintenance services.” I asked Mr. Spring for some specific memories but his first thoughts mused about his father, himself, and now his daughter and son all sharing these similar experiences working with artists.

- - - He replied, “It was very nice of the gallery curator to show us around, and give us two complimentary exhibition catalogues.”

The artist’s included in the exhibit were Jean Arp, Louise Bourgeois, Constantin Brancusi, Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Max Ernst, Alberto Giacomettti, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Henri Laurens, Roy Lichtenstein, Marino Marini, Henri Matisse, Joan Miro, Henry Moore, Bruce Nauman, Isamu Noguchi, Pablo Picasso, Germaine Richier, Auguste Rodin, David Smith, and Cy Twombly. Mr. Spring recalled, "My father always told me that our purpose is to be faithful to the artists intentions. We are not critics. This principle has allowed us to work with many, many artists during the past eighty two years. We are certainly not perfect, but it is important for foundries to have good craftsman, without them you would not meet the demands of the customers."

In the next few posts I will expand on Mr. Spring’s memories and connections in more detail including working with sculptors Louise Bourgeois, Willem de Kooning, Max Ernst, Jasper Johns, Isamu Noguchi and others.

- Photo credit on file

Modern Art Foundry
18-70 41st Street
Astoria, NY  11105

Friday, January 10, 2014

Greg Wyatt - The Gallatin Faculty Show 2013

A group show through January 16, 2014 is on exhibition at The Gallatin Galleries of The Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. One of the featured artists is Greg Wyatt. Greg is a part time faculty member at The Gallatin School and Sculptor in Residence of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City.

In 1978 when Greg received a commission to sculpt a monumental eagle for International Headquarters of the American Bureau of Shipping in NYC. Greg chose Modern Art Foundry to make the cast. At that time, we also completed works for his exhibition at Bodley Gallery. We are pleased to have had an ongoing relationship with Greg for over thirty years, and reestablished our working relationship about six years ago, including the casting his work "Luna," the Roman goddess, for this show.

The Romans venerated "Luna" as goddess of the moon and a patron of the feminine. She was believed to inspire love and hold control over imagination through dreams. "Luna" was the deity who lifted the subconscious from its cloudy realms and brought its instinctual awareness and insight into the knowable and eternal present.

The on line ARTFIXdaily describes Greg's presentation as "an allegorical figure created with exacting attention to detail, a lyrical composition, a carefully burnished patina, and a work of art inspired by the mastery of Renaissance sculptors and inflected with a contemporary sensibility". It continues, "with her torso and legs draped in a cascading garment that suggest her close connection with the tug and pull of the moon's effect on the earth's waters".

Among the worlds preeminent sculptors working in cast bronze, Greg is well known for his public monuments including "Peace Fountain" at the Cathedral Church, and "Price of Freedom" at Arlington National Cemetery, VA to name just two of the many commissioned works on view around the globe, including at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, England and Perking University, China.

We encourage you to attend the show at The Gallatin Galleries and learn more about Greg Wyatt and all the faculty members. For more information visit:

The Gallatin Galleries are located at 1 Washington Place at Broadway, New York, NY, Mon- Fri: 9 am–9 pm, Sat–Sun: Closed
Modern Art Foundry
18-70 41st Street, Astoria, NY  11105

- Photo Credit: Greg Wyatt